$5M seed portfolio will address higher education challenges

Early stage fund stems critical gap in education markets.

higher-educationUniversity Ventures, an investment firm focused solely on higher education, announced today an allocation to a $5 million seed portfolio to support early-stage education technologies that address existing and emerging challenges in higher education and workforce development.

Leveraging the firm’s expertise in education, the investments aim to close a growing gap in education markets by helping the most promising solutions reach the market and scale.

“There is no shortage of opportunities to invest in early-stage companies, but many investors unfamiliar with education end up funding new technologies that don’t address the real pain points for institutions, students or employers,” said Ryan Craig, Managing Director of University Ventures. “Our thesis-based approach has provided insight into the kinds of technologies universities need and can adopt, as well as a terrific pipeline of early-stage companies seeking to work with us.”

(Next page: Initial fund investments)

The fund has already made initial seed investments including Entangled Ventures, a technology distribution network founded by education entrepreneur Paul Freedman; jobs skills platform ProSky; ePortfolio company Portfolium; and SaaS platform CampusLogic, helping colleges and universities manage financial aid more efficiently.

“To be successful, emerging companies need more than just access to capital. They also need access to market insight, relationships, and domain experience,” said Freedman, founder of Entangled Ventures. “University Ventures is regarded as a knowledgeable and connected investor in higher education. It is very exciting to now see them focus on enabling start-ups in the space.”

University Ventures’ approach is to partner with institutions to build public-private partnerships that enable the institution to innovate from within. With various existing investments in service providers and academic institutions, University Ventures provides entrepreneurs with an environment to quickly test and iterate their solutions, while ensuring capital is being spent on the most viable innovations.

“We are excited to be a part of the University Ventures family,” said Crystal Huang, CEO of ProSky. “Their understanding of the future of higher education has been vital in much of our strategic planning. They have already and will continue to help us make strong connections and partnerships with key colleges. Because University Ventures is so entrenched in higher education, we have been able to meet with key decision makers.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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